5 Things You Should Know Before Starting Your Next Apartment Search


Unless you are the luckiest person on the planet, apartment searching is a huge pain in the ass. You never know which listings are legit, hidden fees pop up more frequently than your Insta notifications and you’re legitimately tired of showing up to an open house only to find that the photos don’t match the listing at all. You’ll probably want to rip your hair out after the first day of searching, but we’re here to say that you shouldn’t lose hope. Here are five major tips that will help your next apartment search go much smoother.

1. Be strategic about your search parameters.

Make sure you’re not wasting any time in your search by looking at a massive area. Do some research on a few neighborhoods you’d like to live in and start there. If you don’t see anything within your own criteria, then expand. The key is to not overwhelm yourself all at once with a million listings.

2. Utilize Google Maps to the extreme.

Sure, maybe a listing is showing a gorgeous place with a completely remodeled kitchen for a lower-than-market rental price. But you might want to check out the neighborhood and, in particular, the street. Select “Street View” when typing in the address into Google Maps and look around the building. Take a digital stroll down the street, see how close you are to transportation options (or if you have a car, figure out where you can park). You’ll be saving yourself some time if you find out that the apartment is actually in a super sketchy neighborhood and decide not to view it in person.

Unsplash/Ian Dooley

3. Try to work with a no-fee broker if going it alone is too hard.

Sometimes, doing an apartment search solo can be too overwhelming. We get that, and that’s why we’d recommend looking for a no-fee broker. Yep, those exist, and they’re essentially there to show you multiple apartments that are supposed to meet your criteria. Though not every broker will show you the perfect apartments for you, they can help lessen the burden of starting your search from scratch.

4. Check neighborhood safety reports.

You may notice on some apartment rental websites that there are neighborhood ratings, or reports on how safe the area is. Really look into these reports, and while you’re at it, Google the building’s address and make sure there’s nothing wonky going on. You want to keep yourself safe, so you should make sure you’d be secure living in the building.

5. When seeing apartments, check on everything in them, even if it seems annoying.

Test all the appliances and ask to turn on the shower. Check your phone service in every room, just in case, and in every corner of the room that’s open. Most importantly, take advantage of talking to your potential roommates or the tenants that are moving out of the apartment if they’re around while you tour the apartment. Ask them honestly what they think of the building. Depending on whether they’re banking on filling the room in order to leave, they may totally lie to you, but hey, at least you asked.